Summer is almost here, or at least it feels that way; beautiful warm sunny days mixed with epic thunder, lightening and hail storms. All the terrific wonders of an Aussie summer.

The beauty mixed with the stormy chaos sums up my life at present. Moments of absolute joy when I’m sharing a special moment with my baby boy, mixed in with absolute pain and frustration when sleep deprivation and work stress gets hold of me.

Beauty and chaos … Can you relate? and if so, how do you manage it?


When it happens it’s important to have the right tools and strategies that will help you weather the stress storms. And often the best strategy is not what you think.

The thing is, life is often a mix of epic highs and debilitating lows.

If you experience the emotional pendulum,­ don’t worry ­ it’s very normal. I doubt anyone manages a life that’s totally pain free with zero problems or stress. Obviously we learn to manage our emotions and our pendulum remains in a neutral state more often as we get closer to achieving a state of spiritual enlightenment, but we all face our demons at one stage or another.

Recently I’ve been studying spiritual healing and I’m currently enjoying the work of Eckhart Tolle … His book, ‘The Power Of Now’ has really helped me to work through some serious emotional stuff that surfaces when I’m stressed­ out.

Like many entrepreneurs, I tend to deal with stress by taking­ on more work. Piling more and more onto my plate in an attempt to suppress the stress; until I­ SNAP and breakdown.

The breakdown usually results in an angry Yani, or a deep depression and anxiety attack. (Or, often both!)

I used to spend tens of thousands on lavish holidays in beautiful locations in a desperate attempt to heal myself and my relationship. In doing so, i’d attempt to suppress or run from the harmful emotions.

Now I’m learning to confront my emotions by acknowledging them and working through them and through spiritual healing I’m getting much better at stress management. Another way that I’ve always managed my stress day­-to-­day is through exercise. Incredibly, exercise is 70% more effective than any known medication for depression.

But exercise can become destructive to your health if your’e highly stressed and also trying to hit the gym often and hard … Doing so without consideration to you’re emotional health can be very counter productive and often results in injury, illness or total burnout!

The reality is that no matter how hard you train for the few hours you attend the gym, you can’t undo the 50-60+ hours you spend sitting on your arse snacking on biscuits in the office or board room. It’s just not possible.

You’re probably thinking, so why the hell do we come to the gym at all then?

I’m not suggesting you stop exercising in the gym. On the contrary; gym and supervised exercise is definitely one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. But it’s also important to shift your mindset from the attitude that you’re only going to lose weight if you hammer yourself on a daily basis.

The unfortunate reality is that if you’ve reach a state where you’re overweight and suffering ill­health then it’s too late to rely completely on a few hours of gym each week to get you back into shape.

Even under the perfect conditions it’s extremely hard to trigger fat metabolisation whilst exercising. Instead, I recommend the gym program be considered one component of a total lifestyle overhaul that needs to occur which includes:

  1. Better quality restorative sleep
  2. Improved stress management
  3. Better strength and flexibility
  4. Improved nutritional habits
  5. Increase your N.E.E.T

What is N.E.E.T?

Arguably the most important component to a long term weight loss program is Non Exercise Energy Thermogenesis (NEET). NEET represents energy used by your body throughout the day during incidental movements like walking, standing or even fidgeting.

Think of body fat like a savings account. The best way to grow your bank account is through residual income from good investments. Now replace dollars with calories and instead of adding to the account, we wan’t to subtract from the account. You don’t want to have to work for every calorie, just like you don’t wan’t to have to physically work for every dollar.

Like a once in a lifetime investment opportunity that contributes to your bank account everyday; NEET keeps burning off energy every day ­most of the time ­without you even knowing it.

NEET increases with the hundred subconscious choices made throughout the day.

Literally step-­by-­step you can begin to improve your health and ­ as a result ­effectively lose weight.


Some great ideas some of our members have used in the past to increase NEET are:

  1. Walking 1:1 meetings.
    If you’re in a position where you manage a team and need to meet regularly with people face-­to-­face then tell them that you’ll grab a coffee and walk instead of sitting at the cafe. One of my good friends Tom Roets made a great suggestion to tell people in advance so that women have a chance to prepare and bring some comfy walking shoes. Steve Jobs did this incredibly successfully. In fact, it’s proven to increase performance because you think better when you’re moving!
  1. Stand during board room group meetings.
    There’s nothing more powerful and inspiring than a boss or executive who assumes a power pose with hands on their hips standing in an important board meeting. You’ll be shocked at how you’re able to control the frame and have everyone in the palm of your hand listening to your every word.
  1. Schedule meetings outside of your building at a local cafe and walk there. 
    Even 5 minutes to and from a meeting point will add up and over a week that will turn into 45 minutes of exercise you would never had had otherwise.
  1. Walk to work.
    This is probably the most obvious and possibly the hardest to initiate but if you can manage to fit in a few days each week where you walk to work you will be shocked at how much more energy you burn over the week. Remember, every step counts. It is my goal with every client to get them walking to and from work a few times per week.
  1. Change your location.
    If you’re stuck on the computer for hours and hours at a time behind your desk, aim to move locations three or four times per day. Walk to each new location. Most of the time you will be able to wirelessly connect to your work server. Use your smart phone internet and tether away! You’ll be amazed at how much more work you get done by changing your work environment. Try choosing cafe’s with a view and some fresh air or sunlight.
  1. ALWAYS take the stairs instead of the escalator.
    Making this one small change over a 12 month period will have a HUGE impact on your waist line. Stair climbing uses lots of muscle tissue and increases NEET even more than walking. It’s a simple choice that will have a profound benefit.
  1. Buy yourself a Body Media, Fit Bit or Jawbone.
    These little exercise tools are relatively cheap and they help to monitor the daily movement. Make sure you choose one that counts calories and steps. I especially like the Body Media arm bands basic they can be concealed easily under your business shirt and sink with most apps. They also allow very sexy reporting online on the Body Media website so you can easily track your progress and see where your problem (sedentary) times are, helping to strategise.

That’s just a few good ideas that will have a BIG impact on your long term health.

Increasing NEET means that the gym can be reserved for improved quality of movement and health as opposed to beating yourself up at the expense of your joints, muscles and overall quality of life. Once you understand that optimal health comes when you commit to a holistic lifestyle intervention, you’ll be in a mindset ready to lose weight!

The journey begins with a single step!

Written by Yani Burmeister
Director, Personal Trainer, Unity Gym